Thursday, September 10th, 2009
By William Kincaid
Mercer County Fairgrounds staff tries to remove abundance of stray cats
  The Mercer County Fairgrounds has become a dumping ground for cats, says a neighbor.
Linda Brooks of 217 Jill Ave. said people for years have been abandoning cats at the fairgrounds and most are malnourished and sick.
"That's the only place they know (where) to get rid of them," Brooks said. "I'm assuming it's been going on for at least three or four years."
During the fair each summer, Brooks said the commotion and noise draws the cats into nearby neighborhoods, such as along Jill Avenue and Touvelle Street.
"If you don't have somebody to feed these cats, they're just going to starve to death or something is going to tear them apart," she said.
Brooks - who rescued one of the cats from the fairgrounds - said some of her neighbors feed the cats.
"There's a few people that will feed them," Brooks said, pointing out she feels sorry for the sick cats.
Brooks also said she is concerned about possible health issues. Recently, a raccoon, which Brooks thinks is sick, has been roaming her neighborhood during the day. She fears it could spread sickness to other animals, such as the cats.
Ultimately, Brooks said she just wants people to stop dumping their cats at the fairgrounds.
"They don't put into consideration that these cats have to fight to survive," Brooks said.
Kim Everman, administrative clerk of the Mercer County Board of Commissioners, said the county dog warden has no authority under Ohio law to control cats.
Mercer County Fairgrounds Manager Steve Schulte is aware of the situation. But there is little he can do.
"We do have an excessive amount of cats out there," Schulte said.
Schulte said he has no idea how many cats are living on the fairgrounds, but he has tried to locate homes for them.
"We've been trying to get rid of them for the last two weeks," he said.
Schulte said the cats have multiplied throughout the year.
Anyone who wants a cat is free to take one from the fairgrounds, he said.
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